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Marimekko's makeover

Rebekka Bay gives the Finnish brand an anniversary boost by playing with the iconic patterns and interpreting her own minimalism into their design heritage.
Rebekka Bay gives the Finnish brand an anniversary boost by playing with the iconic patterns and interpreting her own minimalism into their design heritage.


Marimekko, Wednesday 9. August 2023 at 13.00, Designmuseum Danmark

The queue was long outside The Danish Design Museum to get a place for Marimekko’s show inside the garden, because the Finnish brand wanted to live up to its tradition of being inclusive. Decades before becoming a global first-mover phenomenon, Marimekko has been inviting the public to their fashion shows in their hometown of Helsinki, and today they transferred it to Copenhagen for the first time – albeit outdoors.

They had set up a photowall in the open air with the iconic Unikko print, so that everyone could get a selfie for their favorite social media and say that they were there to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the large floral prints that are synonymous with Marimekko’s success worldwide. The large motifs in the original cheerful colours from the 1960s were further magnified like rotating flowers on the ‘grass-walk’ – the lawn behind the museum building – where the models moved naturally around in the archetypal silhouettes that are also part of Marimekko’s design heritage as we watched from a row of Alvar Aalto stools.

And yet, for Rebekka Bay, Marimekko’s Danish creative director, over the last few years, she has allowed herself to adjust the cuts a bit so that they feel relevant in today’s fashion scene, but still fulfil the secondary role as a neutral canvas for the bold patterns from the archive, which will always have priority.

She had also played with the scale of some of the motifs, most strikingly with the enlargement of Unikko in contemporary colour combinations and juxtaposition of coloured stripes on the crisp cotton poplin, but also in small repetitive prints in white on a light blue twill jumpsuit and a shirt jacket over a wide skirt, which gave them a calm, almost logo-like appearance.

After all, Rebekka Bay is a minimalist down to her fingertips. Her very personal touch was evident in the plain workwear-inspired shirt jackets with wide, knee-length shorts in chlorophyll green twill with a narrow white stripe as a hip summer outfit (also with other footwear than the otherwise super cool choice of white Teva sandals for all looks). She also used the heavy fabric in an all-over mustard yellow for a knee-length, collarless shirt dress and a flattering wrap skirt paired with a vintage white ribbed polo neck. This is when we can really see her!

Marimekko represents much of what the fashion industry has been talking about in recent years: being sustainable by being circular. This applies not only in the physical production, but also in the choice of colours and motifs, so that you don’t feel that something is ‘so last season’, but can be used again and again, because the clothes have a built-in timelessness in their expression, so it will always feel modern and meaningful.

See a selection of the show looks below and see the entire collection here

This show review is translated from Danish to English by Graham Addinal